Research shows that one in three children in Brazil is overweight

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Audio (02:36s)

A warning for parents and guardians. In Brazil, one in every 3 children is overweight. And the situation becomes even more serious when we discover that, by 2035, more than 750 million children and young adolescents are expected to live with overweight and obesity in the world. The estimate is from the World Obesity Federation (World Obesity Federation – WOF), when releasing the sixth edition of the New World Obesity Atlas 2024.

Contrary to the guideline that a healthy diet for children, especially in the first years of life, can cause long-term damage to the health of children, is to contribute to an increase in obesity rates and diseases resulting from this condition. The opinion is from Yure Elias, a doctor with a postgraduate degree in nutrition.

“When we talk about healthy eating, we are talking about foods that tend to improve longevity, tend to improve quality of life, disposition, people’s cognitive aspects — and, also, we are avoiding certain types of foods that could be making all of this worse”, he analyzes.

Ingesting foods rich in sugar and fat before the age of 2, for example, can be disastrous for that child’s future. According to the Ministry of Health, the numbers show this. Last year alone, Brazil recorded overweight in more than 3.1 million children — according to a report from the Food and Nutrition Surveillance System (Sisvan) of the Ministry of Health.

Who suffers most

According to the World Obesity Atlas 2024, the most affected population is in the age group between 5 and 19 years old. Data is obtained by measuring body mass index (BMI). The majority live in middle-income countries. The study points out that countries with expanding economies also have rapid increases in the prevalence of overweight, albeit at low levels.

The Ministry of Health (MS) has established goals to be achieved based on healthier food choices. The content is in the “Strategic Action Plan for Coping with Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Brazil 2021-2030”. Reduce premature mortality (30-69 years) due to NCDs by 1/3; stopping the growth of obesity in the adult population and reducing obesity in children by 2% — are just some of these proposed objectives.

Doctor Yure Elias is concerned about the number of overweight children and warns parents and guardians.

“In practice, the diseases we see most are, without a doubt, high cholesterol, hypercholesterolemia, systemic arterial hypertension and diabetes. These are the three pathologies that we end up seeing the most with an intimate relationship with food. These are diseases that, first-line, we try to change the patient’s lifestyle to treat. So, we are talking about changes mainly related to food”, he highlights.

Rio de Janeiro resident Elenir Rosa de Azevedo is 67 years old and retired. She is the mother of 3 children, has 3 grandchildren and reveals that she has always been concerned about the health of her children. Because of this, she says that, for a long time, she cooked all her meals alone to balance the food and the amount of salt to be ingested.

“I have always been concerned about good nutrition. Working with children and the mother of three children and three grandchildren, I sought to prioritize healthy eating, as this would contribute to the good health of children, enabling healthy growth. These good foods are essential for good development and strengthening your health”, he reinforces.

According to the MS, the goals of the Action Plan will guide the areas for a decade, with the prospect of becoming points of dialogue between the SUS management spheres, support for the definition of technical and financial subsidies for health surveillance to strengthen it in the areas of Primary Health Care, Specialized Care, Science and Technology and Work Management and Health Education in the Unified Health System.

Reporting: Lívia Azevedo

Edition: Zildenor Dourado

Zildenor Dourado has a degree in Journalism and Literature/Portuguese from the University of Brasília. He is a specialist in Legislative Communication, from Unilegis, of the Federal Senate. He worked as a reporter and editor for the newspapers Tribuna da Bahia, A Tarde and Jornal de Brasília. in addition to several union press vehicles. He worked as a publicist for the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District, where he was a reporter, editor and head of the Publicity and Press Relations Section.

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